Exposé Online banner

Van der Graaf Generator — Trisector
(Virgin CDV 3046, 2008, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2009-07-01

Trisector Cover artVan der Graaf Generator has been getting attention from the mainstream press during their recent UK tour, much of it positive and respectful. I have a feeling Trisector will help in that regard. While some songs exude the sort of prog rock intricacies exemplified in “Interference Patterns” with its Gentle Giant-like polyphony, others — like the opening instrumental “The Hurlyburly” — seem born out of a garage band ethos, loaded with a sweaty grit that’s sure to maintain VdGG’s status as progressive rock’s best non-prog group. For fans, hearing Hugh Banton’s organ, Guy Evan’s deft kit work, and Peter Hammill’s trademark vocal is like enjoying a fine, vintage wine. The absence of David Jackson’s sax and flute is definitely felt in places, like the emotive “Lifetime” or the extroverted rocker “All That Before.” One can almost fill in the empty spaces with Jackson’s playing and the album would have been better for it. But Trisector succeeds anyways because the songs — quirky, angular, and eccentric as they can be — have focus. When Hammill sings “Oh, but the clock was always counting / the envelope was sealed / and as the pressure’s mounting / still precious little is revealed” on “Over the Hill” you share his contemplation of a life spent searching for answers but consoled that he’s done his best to make sense of it all. This is progressive rock at its best — a provocative consortium of sound and word that says much more than surface impressions may imply.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 37, 2008 releases

Related artist(s): Peter Hammill, Van der Graaf Generator

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Christian Décamps et Fils - Nu – Décamps is, of course, the longtime lead vocalist and rock-poet emeritus of Ange, returning here to solo-career status (technically, Ange is still together - sort of - I have an album titled Les...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues